Priti Patel to require venues to prepare for terror attacks

By Sam Blewett

Venues will have a legal duty to provide security in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing under proposed government plans.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, on Monday is due to detail the scheme, which include a requirement for some public places to be prepared for a terror attack.

They follow a consultation into what sort of venue should be bound by the so-called Protect Duty in the wake of the May 2017 atrocity in which 22 people were killed as they left an Ariana Grande concert.

Figen Murray, mother of victim Martyn Hett, 29, has campaigned for the introduction of a Martyn's Law, including calling for venues and local authorities to have action plans against such attacks.

Currently, there is no legal requirement for venues to employ security measures at the vast majority of public places.

But seven in 10 of the 2,755 respondents to the consultation agreed that publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect people from attacks, according to the Home Office.

However, the department said there was an understanding that measures should be proportionate to the size of the venue, with a greater onus put on those that are larger.

Ahead of the publication of the plans, Ms Patel said: “Following the tragic attack at the Manchester Arena, we have worked closely with Figen Murray, victims’ groups and partners to develop proposals to improve protective security around the country.

“I am grateful for their tireless commitment to the duty and those who responded to the consultation; the majority of whom agreed tougher measures are needed to protect the public from harm.

“We will never allow terrorists to restrict our freedoms and way of life, which is why we are committed to bringing forward legislation this year, that will strike the right balance between public safety, whilst not placing excessive burden on small businesses.”

In a statement, Ms Murray said: “I am grateful for the government's cooperation around the campaign for Martyn's Law and I welcome this report, which clearly indicates their commitment to protecting the public.

“The report shows a majority support for tougher security measures to ensure that people are better prepared to protect the public from terrorist attacks. It is also positive to see so many responses from campaigners and various industry sectors.

“I am aware that a significant number of organisations are already taking the practical and proactive steps that will make us all safer when visiting public places.

“I will continue to work closely with the government and look forward to this legislation being introduced as quickly as possible, to avoid the further unnecessary loss of innocent lives.”


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